Nestled at the mouth of the Kalu River, Kalutara is a tranquil town inviting travellers to explore its many facets. A mere stone’s throw from the international airport, it has risen in ranks to become a favoured holiday resort in Sri Lanka, offering an array of sandy beaches, breath-taking scenery, and historic buildings.

Kalutara’s past is as rich as the mangosteens it is famed for. Once a bustling port under the dominion of European powers, it now delights visitors with its sweet bounty. From May to late August, the local markets are adorned with the purple hues of mangosteens, the ‘Queen of Fruits.’ A visit to Kalutara is incomplete without savouring this exquisite fruit, which is readily available at roadside stalls and restaurants alike.

The town is also a repository of spiritual heritage, with the Kalutara Bhodiya standing as a testament to its Buddhist roots. The complex is renowned for housing the world’s only hollow Buddha shrine and a sacred bodhi tree, offering a serene retreat for reflection and reverence.

Despite its charm, Kalutara is often bypassed by travellers heading to the southern coast, overshadowed by the allure of its neighbours, Bentota and Beruwela. Yet, those who pause to discover Kalutara’s essence are rewarded with a tapestry of culture, colonial legacy, and natural splendour. Whether it’s lounging on its pristine beaches, indulging in the local flavours, or delving into its storied past, Kalutara is a hidden gem waiting to be uncovered on Sri Lanka’s vibrant southern coast.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)